It is called an illness rather than a disease because there is no specific diagnostic test that confirms or denies its existence. It is a collection of confusing symptoms which come and go and vary in intensity. Its chief characteristic is widespread pain in the muscles, ligaments and tendons, stiffness, fatigue and non-restorative sleep. While it is not life-threatening, it can be as debilitating as rheumatoid arthritis. It is an illness which frustrates physicians as much as it does the patient.
FMS is a collection of symptoms without a known cause. It affects 5-10 % of the population, eight times more women are affected than men and it strikes at all ages. It is often found in the company of other related conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), spastic bladder (urge incontinence), headaches, myofascial pain, mitral valve prolapse and chronic fatigue.
The classical diagnosis for FMS is a pain in all four quadrants of the Healthy Body that lasts longer than three months and 11 of the 18 tender pressure points. Although the cause remains elusive, there are many common triggering events thought to precipitate the onset of the illness. These are an infection (viral or bacterial), an automobile accident or the development of another disorder such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus or hypothyroidism.
Traditional treatments aim at improving the quality of sleep and reducing pain. Recent research confirms that a multidisciplinary approach to treating FMS provides the greatest relief from symptoms and the best prognosis. This approach includes improving the quality of sleep, proper nutrition, physical conditioning, deep relaxation and positive mental imagery. No one modality has proven effective more than 40% of the time. However, by combining therapies, the patient can frequently return to a healthier state and a more active lifestyle.
How hypnotherapy can help
At the Clinique d’hypnothérapie et de relation d’aide, our program for FMS symptom alleviation is non-invasive and is designed to be used in conjunction with your physician’s treatment regime. It is a multi-session program which focuses on easing the pain, boosting energy levels, restoring sleep without drugs, releasing anxiety and tension, improving concentration and alleviating other troublesome symptoms. Typical sessions include:
- Triggering the relaxation response
- Restorative sleep
- Pain relief
- Overcoming anxiety and depression
- Boosting energy levels
- Improving concentration
- Allergy relief
- Calming the dysautonomic nervous system
- Increased flexibility
When choosing a hypnotherapist, it is important to be sure that he or she is qualified. Pierre Benoit, CHt, RCCH, is a member of the Association of Registered Clinical Hypnotherapists of Canada (ARCH) and of the International Medical and Dental Hypnotherapy Association (IMDHA) and can be reached at (514)472-3535.